by Derrick Peat
As a drastic change in one’s entire belief system can often be, converting to Islam was quite an experience for me. In addition to this sharp turn in my life, the time after my conversion has also been no less momentous. As a Muslim, I not only gained deeper insight about the world around and the people in it, but I also got a far more profound understanding of myself — that is, emotionally, spiritually and physically — my life, my past, and my possible future. I’m often flabbergasted when I think of my relatively short, 6-year journey in the fold of Islam and where I might be heading.
Islam has liberated my body, mind and soul from the self-oppression that one’s own whims and desires cause. It is what I call the “running oxymoron” in Islam; when you become a slave to God – submitting your will to, putting your trust in, and worshipping the Most Merciful – the REALITY of the matter is that through this submission and worship of Allah, a Muslim becomes freed from the crypto-slavery of one’s destructive desires and egoism. I say “crypto-slavery” —that is, a slavery that doesn’t appear to be such but is in actuality just that—because what other name do you give something that lords over you, commands you, and compels you to do various things?
Allah says in the Qur’an: “Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire? Then would you be responsible for him?” (Qur’an, 25:43)
And I should make clear that I’m not making claims that I’ve fully understood or have fully encompassed the ideal submission to Allah in my life, but I must say that I have grasped the fact that the more a Muslim humbles himself before his Lord, the more in congruence he will be with the true purpose of human existence. As a result of this, a directly proportional peace will enter this Muslim’s life. He will understand that there is no need for to him to worry because his Lord is in control, and when he messes up, slips, sins, and falls down, all in all oppressing his own soul, his Lord is still the Most Merciful. A Muslim can start again, submitting his will, being at peace and clearing his conscience against the backdrop of an oft-troubled world and a soul often troubled by the hand of the satanic forces in the world.
Allah says in the Qur’an, “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an, 51:56)
Let’s stop and think for a minute about the utterly life-altering consequences of this verse. Say a human being makes (I don’t say “create” because we don’t create anything as human beings) something; a gasoline engine should suffice. Now say this same person decides that although this gasoline engine is meant to hold gasoline, he’s going to put water in it instead. Why? Because in his mind, for some idiotic reason, water would be more efficient and easier to deal with than gasoline. What’s going to happen if he does this?
If it’s not obvious already, the cheap water is the deception of this life—our desires, egos, lusts, etc.—while the seemingly harder-to-deal with gasoline is the “real thing,” the submission of our will and servitude to the One who created us and sustains us, and what, ultimately, will make us function appropriately.
The only question that now remains—for myself, first and foremost—is how can we then be deceived?
“Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” (Qur’an, 13:28)